Unburdened by the Constitutional requirement to obtain a search warrant, those nice people at the National Security Agency (NSA) have teamed with Apple, Google and Microsoft to take time out of their busy day to capture all your party pictures from college, intimate letters with your lover and financial activities of your business in order to build a “permanent file” for leverage against you at a later date.
These are just the latest depressing revelations about the rise of the military-industrial complex from whistleblower/traitor Edward Snowden as he accepted political asylum in Russia today.
Snowden’s latest bombshell, via Glenn Greenwald at the UK Guardian, is the outing of the NSA’s XKeyscore software that is vacuuming up “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet.” The top secret program allows civilian contractors in the U.S. to troll vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals around the world.
The NSA boasts in training materials that XKeyscore is its “widest-reaching” system for developing intelligence from the Internet.
Snowden was already the “most wanted person on earth”, but with his newly-awarded legal status in Russia he cannot be legally handed over or kidnapped by the CIA. Snowden remains a very “marked man,” and seems to need to stay in the public eye to avoid accidentally being assassinated in some lonely hideout. Consequently,he will likely continue to talk to the international press and appears to have more information for future release.
Snowden’s latest revelations will also add fuel to the intense political revulsion to Obama’s 18-to-29-year-old voting bloc that was the key to miraculous reelection in the face of the worst economic performance since President Herbert Hoover. This group has already dropped support for Obama by a stunning 17% over the last seven weeks as Snowden informed them that when they look at their cell phone, Big Brother is looking at them.
The timing of the Snowden release came the morning after senior intelligence officials testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and released formally classified documents in response to earlier Snowden interviews by the Guardian. The testimony essentially admitted that the FISA Surveillance Court that supposedly assures Constitutional Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures without “probable cause” does not apply to cell phones, computers and all online activity.
The Obama administration, Intelligence Committee members and the NSA yesterday continued to vehemently deny Snowden’s most controversial statement that: “I, sitting at my desk could wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email.” But Snowden’s disclosures this morning seem to prove he and thousands of other NSA contractors could wiretap any American.
But the training materials for XKeyscore detail how analysts can use it to mine enormous agency databases by filling in a short “on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search”, without obtaining a warrant from a judge. XKeyscore then provides the technological capability that once the NSA has the “metadata” of email or IP address to perform Digital Network Intelligence (DNI) covering all forms of electronic communications. Given that Apple, Google, Microsoft and others have already admitted to providing the NSA with email and IP addresses, that explains how XKeyscore was able to collected and store at least 41 billion total records in a 30 day period during last year.
The NSA states: “These types of programs allow us to collect the information that enables us to perform our missions successfully–to defend the nation and to protect US and allied troops abroad.” Some of that may be true, but the Boston Bombing happened despite direct Russian intelligence agency warnings about the militant activities of Chechen-born Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Daniel Guerin warned in his 1936 book Fascism and Big Business to be vigilant against “an informal and changing coalition of groups with vested psychological, moral, and material interests in the continuous development and maintenance of high levels of weaponry, in preservation of colonial markets and in military-strategic conceptions of internal affairs.” President Eisenhower updated that message with a similar warning to fear the rise of the “military-industrial complex.” Edward Snowden has updated the message that Americans must fear the rise of the “military-intelligence complex.”